Mayawati quits Rajya Sabha, attacks BJP, government for gagging her

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New Delhi, July 18: BSP chief Mayawati on Tuesday resigned from the Rajya Sabha, accusing the BJP of preventing her from speaking in the House on issues close to her heart like the cause of depressed sections particularly Dalits.

“I had wanted to raise issues in the morning relating to Dalits and about the atrocities committed on them in Saharanpur’s Shabirpur village. But you saw the way the treasury benches, including ministers, behaved and prevented me from speaking. When I cannot convey what I want to, then I thought it is not okay.

“I decided I will resign. I have just met the Rajya Sabha Chairman (Hamid Ansari) and I have handed over my resignation from the House,” she told reporters.

Mayawati has given a three-page resignation letter to Ansari which officials say may not be accepted because members quitting Parliament are expected to submit their resignation in a simple format and without conditions.

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Mayawati, whose six-year term was to end in April next year, said when she was on her way to submit the resignation, leaders of the UPA requested her not to resign saying her strong voice was needed in the House.

“I am thankful to them but I have decided to stick to my decision,” she said.

The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, criticised the treasury benches and ministers for not allowing Mayawati to raise issues of concern to her.

“I tried to persuade her from not resigning but I think she had already made up her mind,” he said after Mayawati’s resignation.

The BSP has five more members in the Rajya Sabha. Mayawati, 61, lost power in Uttar Pradesh in 2012 and her party was routed in this year’s assembly elections, winning 19 seats in the 402-member House.

Earlier, Mayawati stormed out of the Rajya Sabha threatening to quit when she was not allowed to speak beyond three minutes over “atrocities on Dalits”.

She demanded a discussion over the issue but Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien told her she had already made her demand for a full discussion and should let the House conduct its business.

Launching a scathing attack against the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh and Modi-led central government, she said both remained “mute spectators” to the violence targeting Dalits in Saharanpur in May when their houses were torched and 15 Dalits injured.

She said BSP leaders were not even allowed to visit the affected families.

As Kurien sought to stop Mayawati, she said: “If I am not allowed to talk, if I cannot represent the section of the society I belong to, if I am not allowed to put across my views on atrocities on Dalits, then there is no point in staying in the House. I will resign.”

The veteran politician then walked out in anger.

The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister said she was following B.R. Ambedkar’s example of having resigned as the Law Minister when he was not allowed to speak and table the Hindu Code Bill.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukthar Abbas Naqvi said Mayawati had insulted the chair by threatening to resign. “She must apologise.”

Congress leader Azad supported Mayawati and took objection to Naqvi’s remarks.

“When Mayawati tried to talk, she was told we have got the mandate. We did not know the BJP has got the mandate to massacre minorities and Dalits,” an angry Azad said, amid interruptions by the treasury benches.

He said the Congress had moved an adjournment notice for farmers, Dalits and minorities and accused the government was gagging the opposition.

Azad and other Congress members too later walked out of the House.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury also said points made by Mayawati were “serious”.

Amid noisy scenes, Kurien adjourned the House till noon. When the house met then, the disruption continued and the house was adjourned till 2 p.m. and later till 3.

When the house met at 3, some Congress members again came to the podium and raised slogans. The House was adjourned for the day.

Earlier in the day, Mayawati had told Kurien that if she is not allowed to speak on Dalit atrocities she will resign. The Speaker had asked her to cut short her impromptu speech in the House. Mayawati later walked out of Rajya Sabha in protest.

Accusing the BJP of being anti-Dalit and anti-minorities, Mayawati said, “Since the BJP has come to power, there has been atrocities on Dalits, minorities starting from Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad, then the Gau Rakshaks (cow vigilantes).”

“And then in UP with EVM tampering,” the 61-year-old leader went on, repeating her earlier allegation of the tampering of the voting machines in the high-stakes Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.

In clashes between Dalits and Rajputs on May 5 in Shabbirpur village in Saharanpur, various Dalit houses were torched after they objected to the playing of loud music to celebrate the birth anniversary of warrior king Maharana Pratap.

Led by Satish Mishra, BSP leaders also raised slogans in Rajya Sabha against “anti-Dalit policies” of the Narendra Modi government. They jumped into the Well of the House shouting: “Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi” (anti-dalit government will not be tolerated)

Mayawati’s term in the Upper House was till April next year.

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